The Importance of Play

by Deb on January 3, 2011

I’m reposting this from well over a year ago, I’m still moving house and it’s definitely worth repeating.

I was trying to get baby girl to let me take photos for the balloons and static piece and it was a bit frustrating – she just wanted to play! But of course that’s what you’d expect.

Then I showed the big one a new website last night and she did all sorts of weird and wonderful things I hadn’t thought of. And it dawned on me that I’d better write a bit of a clarification about some of these activities.

It may sound like I get out the balloons or the vacuum and off we go with a beautifully thought out science lesson.

We don’t.

All of these activities are designed to fill in gaps around what your child is already doing. If they are perfectly happy playing, let them! Be aware of the possibilities so you can throw in a gentle nudge if they seem to be slowing down. Or if they’ve given up playing with the torch because it’s boring, you have something else to suggest. Or if they’ve never cooked, or never been out in the rain, now you have some new ideas. But first allow your kids to use their own innate inventiveness, because they will surprise you.

When I was teaching teenagers and got out the magnets or mirrors or even mathomats, I always allowed at least one lesson to play. Of course it was called discovery learning or free exploration or something fancy like that, but really it’s about letting them loose and seeing just how creative they are all on their own. And these were teenagers who were too cool for school, just think what enthusiastic little kids can come up with!

Imagination is like anything else – it gets better with practice. And imagination is one of the most important things we can give to our children. Whether it is a science hypothesis, an abstract sculpture or a new way to earn a living, one of the fundamental skills both for individuals and society is creative thinking. Giving your child some resources and then stepping back can be hard, but it is well worth it.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Juliet@CreativeSTAR January 3, 2011 at 8:23 am

Well stated! Play is necessary for children of all ages and it helps children with all sorts of science skills: observation, enquiry, questioning, hypothesising, experimenting, etc., etc.
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Shailender @ India Darshan January 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Play is whole world for children. They can’t imagine a world where they can’t play. Sometimes children asks very interesting things which we haven’t heard or even imagined. Every child is very creative in his childhood and we can find his/her field of interest so that we can encourage them to make their career in that field.
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